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What we did with our wedding gifts July 23, 2011

Posted by Sharath Rao in Uncategorized.

As were were preparing for our wedding late last year, we decided that all our wedding gifts must be directed to charitable causes. We made an explicit mention of this in our wedding invitation cards.

Manipal Invitation

“No gifts/bouquets. Any gifts received will be channelled towards supporting education of financially underprivileged children”

Mumbai Invitation

Please do not bring bouquets of gifts. All monetary endowments will be channeled to support the education of financially underprivileged children. Details are given on our website.

First off, we thank you all for the gifts and contributions and are very moved by your support. There were several of you who specifically told us that you were making a gift only because of how we plan to spend it. On the wedding website, we committed to presenting a report of fund utilization by May 31st. Although we did manage to fully allocated all the contributions by mid-March, for various reasons including awaiting documentation, photos and some busy times, we finally have gotten down to putting together this post. So here we go:

We received a total of Rs. 51000 ($1160 )  from the ceremonies at Manipal and Mumbai. The amount was directed towards 3 different projects mentioned below. For project 1 and 2, we are thankful to Mr. Karunakar Shetty. We know Mr. Shetty through his son Sandeep who is a good friend of Sharath’s from high school years. The Project 3 effort was possible thanks to Krishna Ramkumar, CEO and founder of Avanti Fellows, who also happens to be a Little Rock alumnus.

1) Rs. 21600 to a high school in Panchanbettu, a village about 20 kms from Udupi, Karnataka. This is a Kannada medium government funded high school that had somehow been deprived of funds for about 7 years. During this period it survived mostly on donations from Bunt hoteliers based in Mumbai. Mr. Shetty has been teaching at this school in honorary capacity since he retired from work in 2001. We contacted the school principal asked him to list their most pressing needs. It turned out that they had been spending several thousand rupees every year renting sound system during ceremonies and stage events. We therefore sponsored the purchase of a sound system for Rs. 21600. The money thus saved may be otherwise better used. Sharath’s parents visited the school and delivered the check. Here are photographs from the visit.

2) Rs. 15000 to a high school in Rajivnagar, about 5 kms from Udupi, Karnataka. This school particularly serves children of daily wage laborers and poor farmers. The school management had been seeking to build a library but had not been able to do so. Our contribution of Rs. 15000 was split into 2 efforts:

  • Rs. 6500 for a bookshelf
  • Rs. 8500 for an initial set of books

A few photographs from the school visit are here.

3) A donation of Rs. 14400 was made to Avanti Fellows, a program run by a highly motivated and enthused group of IIT alumni that is dedicated towards helping children from the underprivileged community. In their own words:

The Avanti Fellows Program aims to be the largest mentoring program for underprivileged students in India. The organization is currently focused on helping students from poor homes gain admission to prestigious engineering colleges across India and ensuring that they are able to perform well academically and assimilate socially during their time at engineering school. In due course, the organization will expand operations to other disciplines including medicine, law and commerce.

Krishna, the CEO/Founder of Avanti has prepared a report of the expenditure. Indeed this report is testimony to the professional execution of this project. We are happy to recommend Avanti to any of you looking to make a philanthropic contribution.

Once again, thanks to Mr. Shetty and Krishna for helping us channel the money into productive and effective philanthropic efforts. It might have easier to just have sent a check to one of the scores of global charity/NGOs, but we chose to go down this route so we (and now you all) know exactly what happened to the money.

As a parting read, here is something to think about – The Ovarian Lottery.

(If you would like to do something similar and if we don’t already know each other, please leave us a comment here  and we will reach you via email)



1. Vineeta - July 23, 2011

Awesome effort!

2. Ravi Somayaji - July 23, 2011

Well done, people!! A very feel good factor!

3. prathibalrao - July 23, 2011
4. savita sadananda - July 23, 2011

Great job guys!!!!!!

5. Radha - July 23, 2011

this is great! am really impressed by the care you guys have taken to choose projects where your contribution will be best put to use. very good karma for you as a couple!

6. Anita Menon - July 23, 2011

Briliant effort. Really admirable!

7. Abhinav Bhatt - July 24, 2011

Beautiful. Great example!

8. Sabarish Gopalakrishnan - July 24, 2011

Good good job. Brilliant idea. 🙂

9. bhuvaneswari - July 24, 2011

amazing job guys! really proud of u. 🙂

10. leela - July 24, 2011

very happy that the wedding gift money has ben put to such a good cause.

11. prathibalrao - July 25, 2011

You both have a generous heart to invest weddding gift such noble cause. Great !!!!I really appreciate it.

12. Srikanth Raju - July 26, 2011

Awesome! Good work guys!

13. Srirangam - July 27, 2011

Good example worth emulating.
Hema(Chellamani) Raju (Srinivasaraghavan)

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